Dear Brett,
Mark Greene
111

Mark,

I agree with you on some level and I think I am unpacking where you are coming from based on your response.

If there wasn’t homophobia, and if culture didn’t associate having feminine qualities in men with being gay, or if men being more in touch emotionally would not automatically associate them with being gay, then that would lead to a springboard effect of men who are not gay being able to have deep friendships with other men without getting slapped with that stereotype.

Is that what you are saying? If so, I would agree that working to do away with homophibia and the association of certain qualities in men with homosexuality is one way of helping men be more okay with deeper friendships.

I think the problem that I have is that sexuality is always brought into the equation. So, I am reading an excellent article about how society is ruining men’s friendships and I totally am on board with that, and tracking and then the conversation turns to, “So…we need to normalize being gay so that it isn’t hard on men to express emotional depth with other men.” And then I am thinking, “What!? How did we get here?”

I guess I just picked up from your article a desire for men to be ok with loving other men deeply which is great and then the tack you seemed to take toward the middle of the article was, “So let’s let men know it’s ok to be gay.” And I am thinking, “That is the whole problem! Associating this stuff with being gay, and then you even do it in your article.”

But from your response, I can tell I misunderstood your thinking on that it seems. I hope what I am saying makes some sense. Your response helped clarify for me what I think we are both hoping for. I belive I am the one who misunderstood your original article.

As far as the shame thing goes, I hope we retain some shame as a society. I know it is chic right now to nuance guilt as good and shame as bad, but then we turn around and talk about “shameless” acts of violence toward women and children. So it seems a bit of healthy shame would do us good. I know I would like to still feel a sense of shame now and then if I do things worthy of that. And if I am ever contributing to these problems I hope I would feel ashamed. I apologize for misjudging you and probably should have used a differernt word. I am just happy you are having/starting/leading the conversation. Wish we could talk in person.